Monday, December 10, 2012

Consolidation

I've been going back and forth and double posting between Blogger and Wordpress.

My fickleness has now come to an end.

I must consolidate and I'm going with Wordpress. This will be my last post to this Blogger site.

I really appreciate those who have followed me here on this site. I hope that you will follow me over to Wordpress. All of my posts have been transferred over and I just need you to transfer as well as I can't move you myself.

Here is the URL address to go to, http://rgcalkins-author.com/. There is a follow button and a follow by e-mail follow button. Please chose both, one shows up in my stats, the other doesn't.

Also, if you haven't done this yet, please like my Facebook Author page. The link to that is, http://www.facebook.com/RGCalkins.Author or you can click the like button on my Wordpress site.

Thank you for your support and I really, really hope you follow me to Wordpress.

A very grateful,
RG (Robin) Calkins

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Two Cups of Coffee and No Food


I've done this a few times in the last week.

Wondered why my body felt as if it was fuzzy or teeming with electricity.

Then that heel of the hand to the head duh moment occurs.

I had two cups of strong coffee and didn't eat a thing.

So, when I look up from my laptop and the job applications that I've been sending out and see that it's two in the afternoon, I've looked at all the job boards have offered for the day, and I'm shaking from malnourished brain cells, running on caffeine fumes, I shouldn't be surprised.

It's also December. Not really my favorite month, but I do like the holiday that it was bequeathed with. What I don't like about it is the commercial, coma inducing, frenzied shopping that goes on. I avoid malls and other retail establishments, if I can, in normal months and on normal days. Even going to Panera Bread, at SW Plaza Mall, for my critique group borders on insanity to me. Just goes to show how masochistic I've become in my pursuit of writing.

This year, I'm not yet in the spirit of things. For one, we haven't had that much snow. Even in the mountains. That is not a good thing in Colorado. A few days ago, it was like September in the weather department. What's with that?

snowmen2
Seeing lights go up on the houses has helped a bit, ours are up too. Maybe if I decorate inside, it'll be more festive. However, I like seeing a bit of snow around this time of year. I feel a little bit like Bing Crosby and entourage in White Christmas, when they get to Vermont and there's no snow on the ground.

Anyway, I'm going to make the best of things, avoid people crushing mall crowds, ignore all the ads TV and internet, and concentrate on what the season is supposed to be about. Love.

Love your families, even if they try your patience sometimes. Life is too short not to. Love your fellow man/woman/child. I know this is a hard thing to do, but believe me, a little act of random kindness goes a long way.

Okay, that's my caffeine induced, ramble.

If I want to drink coffee and not eat anything until after two in the afternoon, that's my issue, right? (Just don't tell my daughter. I just lectured her on how she needs to eat and not skip meals).

Love and peace to you this Christmas season,
RG

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Short Is Sweet!


Over the past month and a half, I've written three short stories, submitted two to a monthly contest, and one to a friends blog for the Halloween season. This little writing side trip has been fun, revealing, rewarding, and a palette cleanser.

In September, I entered and won the Darker Times Fiction contest with my horror short, No Lights. I surprised a few folks who weren't aware of the darker side lurking beneath my surface. In October, I entered Pay the Piper, a supernatural piece, and was rewarded with second runner up. Both of these stories will be published in the Darker Times Anthology (date to be announced) and will be available in e-book and paperback. This has me pretty giddy as they will be the first pieces I've had published since a poem, in another anthology, in 2000.


In the spirit of Halloween, I also rallied to a request from a friend to write flash fiction (although mine is over the word count a bit) to post on her blog for the haunting season. I'm going to keep this one under wraps as I may be able to enter it in the November Darker Times contest.

While I hope that I can add more short stories to my repertoire, the next big goal is to get my novel published. That brings me back to why this venture into the dark side has been cleansing. It has made me eager to dive back into the revisions on my book, shown me some things I need to do to make it better, and helped me realize I have a character that needs some TLC.

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Farewell, but not Goodbye


Recently I bid a fond farewell to my friend and writer’s coach, Janet Roots. She is returning to the land of her birth, England and will be near my daughter, who is in Wales. This is not goodbye as we plan to keep in touch through the ether.
I met Janet when I attended a MeetUp.com group she started called the Golden Wannabe Writer’s Group in Golden, Colorado. I had just started jotting down ideas for a book when the invite popped up in my e-mail. I had other such invites, but none had felt as right as this one, so I attended the first meeting. That was in June of 2010 and I stuck with this group right up to our last meeting with Janet.
Over the almost two and a half years I’ve known her she has encouraged me, mentored me, taught me the writing craft (still learning), introduced me to my first critique partner, and became my friend. I’ve met some wonderful people through the group, some of which have become good friends and all of whom make me a better writer.
As I said before, this is not goodbye. Our little group wants to stay in touch. To do so, we created a Facebook group and we’ll meet once a month at our regular haunt, Bean Fosters. When Janet is settled in England, we will Skype her into our meetings. We hope to still offer the support each of us needs to reach our goals, whether they be to write and get published, to write for ourselves, or to find out if writing is our thing.
I’ve made other acquaintances in the UK. Some are my daughter’s new friends and others are fellow writers whom I’ve met through blogging, Twitter, and Facebook. I hope to be able to visit in the near future and meet them face-to-face.
Until then, 
I wish Janet all the best and I’ll be in touch!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Watching You


I have been all over the page lately. My brain on overdrive.
Maybe it’s the change in weather.
Maybe it’s the month.
Maybe it’s just that my imagination feeling rather hyper.
The way my brain feels.
Anyway, I thought I’d do a little review piece to further send the synapses into acceleration.
Anyone know John Reeves? No? Well, you should.
He’s the hero of an action/thriller series by Kirkus MacGowen. The book I’m going to talk about in this post is Wrath, the second book in the series. The first one is The Fall of Billy Hitchings if you want to read them in order.
Wrath picks up with John Reeves return to his hometown where he’s dealing with a little bad family blood, working with an accountant and wannabe, although inept, private detective, and a vengeful, psychopathic, serial killer.
Wrath is a visceral read. It makes you feel the action and some of it doesn’t feel that great if you’re a little squeamish. I found myself drawn in with most of my senses, the descriptions acutely visual.
The one issue I had with it was I wanted a little more John Reeves. This book dealt with his relationship to his ‘estranged’ brother and I felt there was enough of the brother, but not quite enough of John. If you read both books, you’ll see what I mean.
However, that one issue doesn’t keep me from giving Mr. MacGowen’s book a huge thumbs up. I’m looking forward to reading the next John Reeves adventure.
The psychotic in this novel got my appetite ready for the Halloween season. The next two reviews are witchy in nature. Although both have a little vamp and ‘other’ supernatural in the mix.
First is A Discovery of Witches, a supernatural tale woven by Deborah Harkness.
Diana is reluctant to embrace her witch heritage, but when the historian of alchemy stumbles on a ancient manuscript that only       opens for her, the supernatural world around her closes in.
Deborah Harkness creates a rich world of witches, vampires and daemons in this book, the first of three. I did not want to put this                    down. It kept me engrossed and pulled me from England to France to New York and then into time itself where it left me, anxiously waiting for more.
I guess I have to get the next book, huh?
Next is The Forever Girl: Sophia’s Journey by Rebecca Hamilton.
This was an intriguing read about a young Wiccan who discovers that she’s a descendant of elemental witches and a forever girl. I’m not going to go into all that because I want you to read and find out for yourself.
There is mystery aplenty in Ms. Hamilton’s first book of the series. Cruors (vampiric beings), Strigoi (shifters), and many more paranormal beings. There’s also an unsolved murder or two.
This is more of a YA or New Adult read, but I enjoyed it immensely. I did have one issue. The ending. I wish it had left me with a stronger feeling that there is more to come. It did and it didn’t, so I would be okay if it was a stand alone or a series. Since it’s billed as Book #1, then it needs to be a little more leading.
That’s it for book reviews. I would like to throw in a theatrical review even thought the musical is ending this week.
I recently saw a production of Three Penny Opera at the Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden, Colorado. I just want to say Bravo! Also, if you love the arts in any way, shape, or form, check out your local theatre productions. The big stage is not the only place to see excellent theatre. Support the little guy.
Well, I succeeded in throwing my head into a more frenetic tail spin. Anyone have something they’d like to recommend?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Frustration & Release

I haven't been on here for about a month. This is one of my frustrations. It's completely with myself, because I know that I should make time to blog. I have many of these niggling, nagging, frustrations and I could put them off on other things, people, etc., but there's always going to be a little 'me' in the mix.

I've been job hunting, missing my daughter, worrying about both my kids, cheering my son's promotion efforts from the sidelines, worrying about my parents and sister, trying to write at least a little, finally getting to this blog, etc.

You can't totally get rid of all life's worries, but you can find a release.

I found mine in June of 2010. Well, maybe not found, but set it free. The strange thing is, I had been thinking about a story that was sparked by a song. Thinking about putting it down on paper, but not acting on it. Then . . . I got an invite to a group on MeetUp.com. The Golden Wannabe Writers Group. In retrospect, it came to me at the perfect time. Something I strongly believe in. I attended the first meeting to see what it was about and got hooked. The week before, I had put down the first words of my story. Through the tutelage of Janet Roots and the support of this group, I finished my first manuscript in September of 2011. I am revising it now. Taking it to two different critique groups to help me polish it and working toward publication.

There are those who think this is strange. That it's a passing fancy. That I might be slightly off.

The truth is, I've always lived in my head. I've always been making up stories for myself going as far back as the little, red timeout stool that I sat on--a lot.

It's hard to explain to someone what it's like for me to write. Let me try.

Some people like to watch sports or participate in sports, some like to scrapbook (I do as well) or do other types of art. Others hike, bike, ski, do yoga, work (yes there are some that find this a release), sew, drink, smoke (insert tobacco of choice here), knit, cook, the list could go on and on. My point is, think about what gives you release from your frustrations, think about how it makes you feel.

This is what it's like for me to write. It's exhilarating and yes frustrating in a good way. To create a world that I hope someone else will get caught up in as I did writing it.

And then there's the reward. The excitement I felt when I first saw the anthology my poem, My Heart's Song, was published in, sitting on the shelf at the Tattered Cover Bookstore. The rush of pride at second place in the Creatively Crazy short story contest and having that story read by actors at the Miner's Alley Playhouse in Golden, CO. The giddy elation that I recently had when I learned I won the September 2012 short story contest at Darker Times Fiction with my entry, No Lights, which will be published in their anthology and available on Amazon.com in the next couple of months.

I know this is not something that only happens to me, that there are people in all walks of life experiencing the frustrations and releases that go with life.

What's your greatest frustration and how do you release it?

#iamwriting ~ RG


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mortality

I visited my parents recently. My daughter traveled with me as she wanted to see the relatives, especially the grandparents, before beginning her studies in Wales.

This visit brought up the subject of mortality. You see, my mother has vascular dementia and disease. Progressing rapidly. Every day that she still knows us and her mind, is numbered. My father is also afflicted with the ravages of age. Minor strokes and broken bones make it hard to get around and to get certain words out without slurring or giving up on them completely. Then there is the forgetfulness. I think it breaks his heart not to be able to help his ailing wife.

It's hard to watch. Hard to think about. Hard to listen to them say they are a burden, or one doesn't want to be around without the other. This difficult, but eventual part of life...well, it just sucks. Not everyone will be this way, but aging is inevitable. We will all do it. Some of us more gracefully than others. It's really all in the genetics and, being adopted, I just don't know how things will go. I guess life is just a mystery that we have to live/work through.

And, bless my sister's heart! She has taken on our parents care and I so appreciate everything she does. I pray strength and patience for her every day. The task is not easy. I'm here to listen to her whenever she needs to vent, or needs someone to cry to, or just needs to share whatever outrageous behavior the parents exhibit. I love her more than she will ever know.

My sister and I, as well as a lot of our friends, have reached that age where the role of parent/child has been reversed. When my daughter and I left Texas to come back home to Colorado, it was with the knowledge that it might be the last time at least one of us would see them.

I'm grateful that my mother was not so confused that we didn't have a good visit. She doesn't remember what day my daughter leaves, or when she might come back for a visit, but she did see and know her while we were there. Mother still asks about everyone, although it's repeatedly as are the answers. Dad still cracks himself up at his well worn jokes.

It was a good visit. I hope there are more, but I'm prepared if there are not. Until that time, I will call each week and chat, talk to my sister and get updates, and tell them all that I love them as much as I can. ~RGC

Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

  • Act I, scene 2, line 72. ~Hamlet

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Please move to your right, I think I need that gray matter.

This is going to be short.

My head is crowded and listing to the right. I think some of what's in my right brain is starting to spill into my left and that just can't be. Must remain logical (at least some of the time). 

Note: Too much imagination in the left hemisphere makes your head hurt. Those little stuffed shirts over there can't take to much fun.

I have revisions for my first book, slithering through my synapses, while four other book ideas clammer for their spots. And now, one more decided to sneak it's way into the deep recesses of my cerebral cortex.

HELP!!



        Be back soon!       RG

 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Random Musings-Part Two

I am back among the blog living, at least I think I am. Could be the blog dead. You never know.

Do you think there are zombie bloggers?

See, already rambling.

Today started better than yesterday (although yesterday ended well) thanks to Random Act of Kindness guy in front of me at Starbuck's this morning. He bought my "breakfast." Told the girl 'he wanted to make someone's day.' Well Mr. RAK, you did! I thank you from the bottom of my caffeine deprived brain and grateful heart.

Last night was critique group. I love critique group, even when I hate it. I have been told that I give good dialog, that I must have been a twenty something guy in a past life, and 'OMG, you need a copy editor!' Yes, I know this. Grammar is my bane, well actually punctuation to be more precise.

I took something new to group last night. The beginning of a new book. I thought it would be fun to mix it up and take a very short hiatus from Wayward (will be back at that one next week). This one is raw and I expected some harsh review. However, while it was critique at it's best, I still got feedback that I was hoping to get. That it was intriguing, it elicited a need to know more, that it piqued curiosity. Yay! Does need work though and I knew it would. The new book is called Sketches and it's a paranormal thriller. I will be returning to it, but I want to get further into revisions of Wayward first.

Okay, I recently met romance author Lizzie T. Leaf for coffee and chat. She brought me swag from a romance writers conference.  Always fun. We got to know each other a little better and she gave me some more fuel towards my consideration of traditional or self pub. I appreciate all the input from my writer friends. I am feeling more comfortable about my writing and my options. I will have Lizzie on here to guest blog soon. She writes romances that are quick, light reads for the times when a sexy, flirty, fun  romp is what you need. Her heros are hunky, heroines beguiling, and humor abounds.

Oh, yeah. Saw the new Spider Man recently. It was my birthday present from my son. It was so much fun. I loved it! I like it better than the others. The cast was awesome and Andrew Garfield made an excellent Peter Parker/Spider Man. Love, love, loved it!

Should I mention I just finished the Fifty Shades trilogy?  Hmmm, I should probably keep my comments to myself. I plead the 5th, because I'm sure someone would use it against me. I'll just put in my vote for the lead parts in the movie--Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev. Already have chemistry,  off camera couple, and no one does Mercurial better than Mr. Somerhalder.

.......I'm going to wrap up here. My randomness is winding down. Caffeine has run through my system--must. get. more......and probably lunch too. Couldn't hurt.

Until next time,
RG






Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Random Musings, Part 1

I title this part 1 because I always have random musings, so there will be a sequel to this.

First, I promised, in my last post, to let you know if the character that I placed on Death Row gets a reprieve or not.

Drum roll please..............


Steve lives!

He does have a purpose, if only in the first part of the book. He won't be back once my protagonist leaves Denver for his home town in the mountains. We all have more than one friend. I just have to be diligent in the way they interact when they're all together.

Next!

I'm working a seasonal job right now and someone asked me if it was fun. You see, this company rents inflatables. The company is Blaster Bouncer . We have three locations; Denver, Chicago and Pittsburgh. I'm the Customer Service Manager for all three... Where was I? Oh, yes, fun. Yes and no. I love the company, love the owners, love my office mates, love the guys that drive long hours and set up bounce houses and other inflatable games and such all day, love the guys who come in and clean them, even the customers most of the time. What's not fun is telling someone that the company is cancelling their order because the wind is too high (really, safety first people), making calls to people to tell them their credit card declined, listening to the few people who just like to complain (mostly trying to get a discount), and the sometimes long hours and incessantly ringing phones. It's all part of the business, so I'll take the good with the bad, because this is a good company, with good work ethics, run by good people.

This past Saturday, I went to the Farmer's Market at Southwest Plaza Mall. My friend and fellow writer, Jody Romero, has started a business and is peddling her wares at the local markets. Her new company is called Kuzala! (it means happy in Sanskrit). She makes gluten free, low glycemic, cookies and biscotti. So far, my favorites are her chocolate chip cookies, which taste like the unhealthy kind, the cranberry/chocolate/pecan biscotti, mocha biscotti, and wild berry shortbread. There are many more to try.

I looked around the market, at all of the mom and pop, cottage industries and reflected on something a friend posted on Facebook:

I know several people with small businesses, and I'm proud to support and promote them!

Which brings me to my next ramble.

I'm going to throw my daughter a Bon Voyage party with a little help from my creative friends. Two of those friends have a business called PSMIYO (PS Make It Your Own). I met Pam Smerker of Pamela Smerker Designs and her partner in creativity, Dawn Rumin about six years ago when doing a fund raiser at the high school. We've been friends since.

They will be helping me with the decor/theme of the party and I have no doubt that it will be fabulous. I believe Dawn has her wheels turning with themes of travel and the UK, and Pam has started a board on Pinterest so that we can all post ideas for the party. I'm so excited!

I've also been musing about the blessings of belonging to my writing groups. The first group I joined is called the  Golden Wannabe Writer's Group. It's a MeetUp! group led by writer's coach Janet Lynne Roots. We meet at Read, Write & Brew (I did a blog review on 6/9/12). It's such a great venue for readers, writers, students, musicians and groups. I highly recommend checking it out whenever you're in Golden, Colorado. GWWG is the group that got me going and the support, feedback, and friendships that have come from this group have been priceless. Janet's instruction has been invaluable as well.

From this group has stemmed a small critique group, which started with myself and Lisa Fender. We've recently added Janet Baltz another member of GWWG. The benefit of this small, personalized group is immense. Love these ladies and respect their feedback. Thank you for the support!

My third group is the RMFW Tuesday Night, SW Plaza Critique Group. There are groups like this all over the Denver Metro area, all springing from The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers organization. I joined this group after my friend Mindy (also of Blaster Bouncer fame) coaxed me into coming to one of their monthly seminars. I've been bizarrely attracted to this group ever since. I love them and I hate them. I have learned so much from the critique I get. Sometimes I leave feeling elated, sometimes I'm deflated, but something keeps me going back, like some sick addiction or masochistic thing.  No matter how I feel, everything I've gotten from them has been valuable.

I have to stop rambling now. Got pages to print out for tonight's torture at critique tonight.

Thanks for reading my meandering post! ~RGC


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

To Kill, or not To Kill

I have a dilemma.

I know that sometimes "you must kill your darlings." And, I'm not the squeamish sort, but I'm having a really hard time deciding whether or not to do away with one of my characters. The problem is, I find reasons for him to be there. I can also see him "not there," at least not physically in the scenes.

This issue has been rumbling in my head for a couple of weeks now. Why is this so hard?

Help!

I've put this question to a few of my literary friends. It's a mixed bag of answers, mostly the pros and cons are even. It feels a little like a tug-of-war.

Keep him.......no, don't keep him....ugh! That flag in the middle doesn't budge.

I'm going to have to sleep on this one more night. Tomorrow, I have a big decision to make and make it I must. I'm at a point where the rewrite won't be horrendous if I do it now.

Tune in next Tuesday to find out. Did he face the gallows, or get a reprieve?





Hmmm, there's also a lovely butcher knife in my kitchen dr....







Bwahahahahahahahahahah











Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Place to Relax, Reflect, and Regale

A Review

Read, Write & Brew on Urbanspoon
I was introduced to Read, Write & Brew when my writer's coach had our group start meeting there. It's a combination coffee shop, used book store, and meeting place. They host authors and musicians and the coffee is great.

Our group, The Golden Wannabe Writers Group, meets there the first and third Saturdays of the month. The owner, Jefferson, is a great host. You won't find a better venue for reading, meeting, presenting, studying, and most of all drinking coffee. While you're there, find a book you haven't read, they have a great selection.

I'm writing my first novel and this place has made an impression on me, so I'm including it in my book (with Jefferson's blessing).

If you are ever in Golden, Colorado, check out this little gem.





Cheers!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

If at first...try, try again.

Hello,

I'm back.

The heading on this post is something my parents always told us growing up. I'm not sure where the quote is from...actually (after looking it up) The proverb has been traced back to 'Teacher's Manual' (1840) by American educator Thomas H. Palmer and 'The Children of the New Forest' (1847) by English novelist Frederick Maryat (1792-1848). "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

The past month has been full of good news, bad news and all sorts of business.

Prior to my last post, my friend and critique partner's father died. Right after that, my daughter graduated from University of Wyoming with a BFA in Theatre & Dance, Technical Theatre-concentration, Lighting Design. About four days after that, she found out that she was accepted to The Royal Welsh College of Drama & Music, into their MA program for Theatre Design.

Up until recently, I was working two jobs. It was as if I had no time to do anything other than work and sleep. My writing suffered from this as well as life in general. Last Thursday, my temporary contract ran out with one of the jobs. So, I'm down to one job, with a weird schedule, and it's seasonal to boot. I'm looking for something permanent, full-time, because I'm not being supported by my writing yet and one paycheck in the household doesn't cut it.

I attended the memorial and life celebration of John Wright, my friend Lisa's father. Complete with clown noses to remember his love of performing that role. He has a beautiful family that will carry on his legacy.

Last Wednesday, another dear friend, Ava, lost a parent. Her mother gave up her struggle with age and is now singing arias with the angels. We will miss you Lucille 'Loretta' Ruby Curry. You were a class act and a dear lady. I attended her beautiful  memorial and celebration of life. The reception featured a slide show with music from operas and musicals that she performed in, in New York, Denver, and Central City.

Now my life will consist of looking for that permanent job, finding scholarships and grants to help fund my daughter's tuition, getting her ready to leave home to study in the UK, and last, but certainly not least, writing.

Yes, I'm determined to get this first novel revised and ready. To flesh out the other two, whose ideas and scenes are waiting patiently in notebooks to be typed in. Today is the first time I've set down to simply write, in a while. Yea!

I'm also asking for the support of family and friends. I need feedback, I need encouragement, I need support and to know that someone out there wants to read my work. I can't tell you how writing makes me feel. Just know that this is something that makes me really happy. To weave a tale in my head and put it on paper. To have characters take on a life of their own and start telling me where they want to go. To have a manuscript that is complete, although it needs revision, is the biggest high.

Now, to take all the hand edited pages and apply them to the pages in my computer. Also, work on a suggestion from my writing coach that will help with my revisions.

I'm going to write now. You my ask yourself, "Isn't that what she's been doing on this blog?" Well, yes, but it's not my book.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Time to Mourn

My dear friend and critique partner, Lisa, lost her father this weekend. As I sit here thinking of what to post, this scripture came to me. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (Complete Jewish Bible)

For everything there is a season, a right time for every intention under heaven--
a time to be born and a time to die
a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones, 
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to discard, 
a time to tear and a time to sew,
a time to keep silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. 

The time to die has past. The time to mourn is now. The time to weep and laugh at your memories is always. The time to heal, begins. I pray that your time to dance comes soon.

May your family have love and peace,
Robin

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Long time, no post!

I'm back.

I've been dealing with life and the lemons it likes to hand out. I'd make lemonade, but I don't really care for it that much. Maybe I'll make Lemoncello. At least if I drink enough it will kick my ass and I won't care how many lemons have been bestowed upon me.

Lately, it seems like all I do is work or sleep. Right now, I hear my pillow calling me. It's fluffy comfort and my urge to write are waging war as I type. I want to write, I need to write, my muse berates me daily for not writing more.

Enough...enough of the whining and self pity!

I will, once again, make a concerted effort to blog regularly, which,  for me, will be once a week until I win the lotto and can write full time (then I can hire someone to do it for me...kidding). I'm going to aim for Tuesday to be my blog day.

I'm hoping to have a guest author soon, so keep an eye out for that announcement. For now, I am going to do a little revising, get ready for critique tomorrow, and then heed the siren call of my pillow.

Good night!
RG

Note-even though I'm writing this Monday night, I'm scheduling it to post on Tuesday. So, no. I'm not doing another post. See you next Tuesday!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Spirit of Wayward (book teaser)

Last Wednesday, I woke up to my alarm slightly confused and pensive about the dream I'd been awakened from. The scenario was not complete. It ended before I understood what it was about. 

I dreamed about Wayward. This is strange because Wayward is my novel, it's the conceptual plane that Simon gets pulled into and eventually learns to use. It is, in essence, a character on it's own.

The really interesting thing about this movie of my subconscious is that not only was I in Wayward, but I could hear Simon's voice (the same one that tells me to get it gear and do revisions). I was in an area of Wayward called The Field. It's a place where you can imagine anything you can think of, almost without limit. The only thing I can remember him saying to me is 'look at it, this is your creation.' I think he told me other things, but I can only recall that.

While I scanned the area, The Field appeared as I envisioned it in my book, but when I turned around what I saw was dense rainforest. At this point I was joined by my Aunt Genevieve. She lives in Washington State a place that I have a particular fondness for. She did not say anything. We stood there in silence and then she put her arm around my shoulders and hugged me to her. That's when the alarm went off. I didn't know why she was there. Only that it was peaceful. 

Aunt Gen had recently suffered a stroke, which was complicated by pneumonia. She has been in hospice care for a few weeks now. I learned later in the day that she had slipped into a comatose state. She woke up a couple of days ago and is still weak, but doing better.

I have to wonder, in that rift between life and death, had she visited me? It's a premise in Wayward, the connection of subconscious minds. It segues nicely into the book teaser that I've chosen. I would not have picked this passage had it not been for the dream. So, first a little intro.

Simon has been pulled back into Wayward by his friend Eli Cusack. In this chapter, Simon discovers that he's already able to use Wayward and finds Eli willing to answer some of his questions. Eli's wife, Celeste, has been dead for twelve years, but he's indicated to Simon that she visits him in Wayward. This excerpt introduces us to Eli's character arc. I hope you enjoy it.

RG

After several minutes Eli gets up, stretches, and comes to stand beside me. The pole magically disappears as he gets closer. He sets the beer bottle down. “Pick it up.”
It disappears when I try to grab it. I take my hand away and it reappears.
Eli smiles, “I can see your projections, you can see mine, but we can only interact with our own. However, if you had a straw you could put it in my bottle, but--”
“If I tried to drink it, I’d be sucking air.”
“Exactly.”
“So, projections are physical to a point--manifestations are not.”
“You’re beginning to get this. You’ll figure out all the rules in no time.”
“You say Celeste comes here. Is she a manifestation?”
“Oh, no, she’s real. The dead can visit Wayward. There are rules around that as well. We can’t touch, but we can talk. She, like a manifestation, is not corporeal. She can’t touch anything on this plane.”
“Are you saying she floats, like a ghost?”
He laughs at this, “You could put it that way. She has energy about her that I can feel. It’s as much as I can hope for.” A hint of sadness appears in his eyes, but he recovers quickly.
“Where is she when she’s not here?”
“Our ancestors called it Tir Na Nog, the Land of Youth. The Vikings called it Valhalla, some say limbo, whatever your culture or religion’s name is for it. To pass through to the final destination, the spirit or their loved ones must be ready to let go.”
“Are you keeping her here Eli?”
His face clouds over. “Partly. And part of it is her. We haven’t been able to say our final goodbye.”
 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I was doing okay with my posting. I did try to post once a week, but I lapsed. I am bound and determined to get better at this. 


I had to post today. It's St. Patrick's Day! Here in America, everyone can pretend to be Irish for the day, drink green beer (if that's appealing to you...gag), and have an excuse to party.


For me, it's a time to remember my trip to Ireland in 1994 and to honor my ancestry. I decided to post a St. Patrick's Day playlist. There are hundreds of songs to choose from, but I'm only going to post a few of my favorites. I hope you might check some of these out. 


My next post will be soon. The plan is to post another little teaser from my book, Wayward (There are a couple of songs in the playlist that get a mention in the book).


May you have a day filled with sunshine, and good friends!


La Fheile Padraig Shona!


Eireann                      Afro Celt Sound System
Drunken Lullabies            Flogging Molly
The Broad Majestic Shannon   The Pogues
I'll Tell Me Ma              The Young Dubliners
What's Left of the Flag      Flogging Molly
Dunford's Fancy              The Waterboys
The Kilburn High Road        Flogging Molly
The Foggy Dew                The Young Dubliners
Shanne Bradley               The Pogues
The Paddy Set                Seven Nations
(No More) Paddy's Lament     Flogging Molly
I'm Shipping off to Boston   Dropkick Murphys
The Irish Rover              The Pogues
Black Friday Rule            Flogging Molly
The Battle March (Medley)    The Pogues
Soft Gator Girl              Seven Nations
The Stolen Child             The Waterboys
The Seven Deadly Sins        Flogging Molly
The Rocky Road to Dublin     The Young Dubliners
Grace O'Malley               The Dreadnoughts


ENJOY!

































Friday, March 2, 2012

My Amazing Progeny!

I'm feeling the need to brag about my children. They are, in my opinion, fantastic!

Dillon  is 25 and Cassidy  just turned 22. They both graduated, with honors, from Dakota Ridge High School. Dillon in 2004 and Cassidy in 2008.

Dillon graduated from University of Colorado Boulder in 2010 with a BA in English and a minor in Technology, Arts and Media. Cassidy is a senior at University of Wyoming and will graduate in May 2012 with a BFA in Theatre & Dance - Technical Theatre, concentration Lighting Design.

Both are talented in the arts. Dillon in graphic design and art in other media. Cassidy with her eye for color and light, is also a musician playing classical guitar.

They are hard working kids. Dillon uses his talents working for Modern Distribution Management (MDM) creating graphics for their website with other duties as assigned. He also works for Starbuck's (has since high school) where he has distinguished himself as a shift supervisor and brew master, as well as an artist. Cassidy works in the electrics shop for the theatre department and as a caregiver at ARK on the weekends. She balances that with classes, homework and shows.

Both are beautiful, unique individuals. They are growing to be responsible adults. I have much to be proud of with these two!

I love you both infinitely!
Mom

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reading is Fundamental

I've been told that one of the best things a writer can do is read. And, I do. Not as fast as I used to, but I still knock off 2-3 books a month.

I would like to share my thoughts on three of the books I've read over the last couple of months. These are recommendations, not reviews, although I will comment on each.

The first is 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I always enjoy a good King. Wait--that doesn't sound right. I enjoy reading a good Stephen King novel. This one was particularly interesting to me because of the setting. I was raised in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area (or Ft. Worth/Dallas area depending on your affiliation), I grew up in the era depicted and his description of Texas is spot on.

This is not scary King, it's suspenseful, fantasy, time travel King. It has to do with the Kennedy assassination, but I will go no further than that. You have to read it to find out the details. He still manages to throw in a few creep factor things that give you that 'something's not quite right feeling.'

11/22/63 gets four out of five stars. The only reason it's not five is because of the length. I am not averse to reading long tomes, but I know the average reader might balk at it's 842 page length.

(I'll let you in on a secret. Before I started revisions on my book, it was well over that. Suffice it to say, I am cutting).

The next book is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This is a great read, and again it's the era I grew up in. It's set in pre-integration Mississippi and is written from the perspective of three women, two black maids and a young, white journalist/wannabe novelist. Their collaboration makes a powerful, poignant, funny, entertaining read about women and how they overcome their fear, make discoveries about themselves, and form a bond, regardless of race, in a time of unrest in the South.

If you're not a reader, see the movie. It follows the book well enough. This one I give 5 stars for a heartfelt story, and characters who became my friends.

The last one is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This is my genre! If you love paranormal fantasy, this is a must read!

A circus that only opens after dusk and closes with the coming of dawn (and it's not about vampires). It's existence based on a wager made by two rival magicians. The book is richly dark and sensual. It brings to my mind a marriage of Something Wicked This Way Comes, Wuthering Heights, with a little Cirque du Soleil thrown in.

I read this book on my iPhone. Yes--I said iPhone. I think that speaks volumes that I was willing to continue to read it in that format and not stop long enough to buy the physical book. Of course, I now would like to have a copy in my library.

Absolutely 5 stars for this one. Entertaining, exotic, sensual, mystical, imaginative and just an engaging read all around (a book tailor made for Tim Burton's directing--just sayin').

Thank you for indulging me in my opinions. I hope that they might encourage you to pick up one or all of these books and that you enjoy them as much as I did.

R.G.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Peek into Wayward

Finally! I make good on my word to bring a little tidbit of my novel, Wayward.

It's just a little taste, but hopefully enough to whet the appetite. My protagonist's name is Simon Farrell and he's just been through something weird and unsettling with more to come. 

Go ahead, you know you're just itching to get into Wayward, even if we don't visit this time. Read this snippet and let me know what you think. 

Regards,
Robin

WAYWARD - CHAPTER ONE
I’m going to land hard, and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s as if my soul is being sucked back into my body at high velocity. The impact is so abrupt I slam my head into the headboard. A second of blinding white flashes behind my eyes.
“Aw shit,”
I grab my head and wince in pain. My heart hammers in my chest, I gasp for air as though I’ve run a marathon. Sweat drips from my face and runs down my neck.
Just minutes ago, my father chased me out of Cusack’s Shack. Then everything disappeared, went pitch black. A magnetic sensation took over, and I sped through darkness until I could see myself hurtling toward myself. It makes no sense and yet, it does.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Go Ahead--Call Me A Slacker

I haven't been on here for awhile. I have to get more consistent with this blog thing. Part of my absence is that I said in my last post, that I would be including an excerpt from my book, Wayward, in the next post. Trouble is, I can't decide what to post. Do I pick something from my first chapter? Do I pull out something from another chapter? What's just enough to make you want more? Well, you see where my head went with this.

What it really boils down to is me, getting in the way of myself. I just need to kick myself in the posterior and get disciplined to blog at least once a week. Sheesh, what a slacker!

So, this is my apology for being remiss. I'm going to pick out a little tidbit from the novel and post it!

Within two days of this post there will be and excerpt of my book.

See you Friday, February 17th, 2012.
Robin

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness Continue in 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hope that everyone will have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012!

The first week of this new year did not start with a bang, but it did have a couple of nice surprises. Once again, someone bought my breakfast in the Starbuck's drive through. This is an awesome practice and I've now participated in it as well. Even if you only do it once this year, choose a random person behind you in the drive through line, and pay for their Starbuck's. It will make you feel just as good to give as it does to receive this token of kindness.

The next surprise was  from the people I work for. I was given a thank you card . I was not expecting what was in it. Three crisp, new twenty dollars bills to thank me for my kindness. I can't tell you how much I thank these people for their kindness in return. I haven't work there long, but they've made me feel welcome and appreciated.

I hope that random acts of kindness and generosity continue to happen all year long for everyone. The world would be a better place for it.

That's all I have to write this go round. My next blog will be a teaser from my book. I hope you all will check in and read it.

Blessings in the New Year!
Robin